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House Panel Passes College Legislation on Party Lines

November 1, 2019

The House of Representatives' Education and Labor Committee on Thursday passed along party lines legislation aimed at making college more affordable, with unanimous support from the Democratic majority.

The College Affordability Act, as the legislation is known, boosts the size of the Pell Grant, enacts a federal-state partnership to make community colleges free, streamlines student loan repayment and codifies Obama-era college accountability rules. It would also restore the gainful-employment rule, aimed at weeding out poorly performing for-profit and vocational programs.

The bill was approved on a vote of 28 to 22, with Republicans unanimously opposing it.

Representative Robert C. Scott, the Virginia Democrat who heads the panel, said the legislation would "immediately lower the cost of college while putting a down payment on investments that we need to make in the future."

The panel's top Republican, North Carolina representative Virginia Foxx, said of the measure, "The same tired idea of throwing more money into the existing system and hoping that this time things will be different is the very definition of insanity."

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Doug Lederman

Doug Lederman is editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed. He helps lead the news organization's editorial operations, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Doug speaks widely about higher education, including on C-Span and National Public Radio and at meetings and on campuses around the country, and his work has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today, among other publications. Doug was managing editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education from 1999 to 2003. Before that, Doug had worked at The Chronicle since 1986 in a variety of roles, first as an athletics reporter and editor. He has won three National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association, including one in 2009 for a series of Inside Higher Ed articles he co-wrote on college rankings. He began his career as a news clerk at The New York Times. He grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and graduated in 1984 from Princeton University. Doug lives with his wife, Kate Scharff, in Bethesda, Md.

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